10 upcoming free agent with obvious ties to the Steelers

Chicago Bears defensive back Jaylon Johnson (33)
Chicago Bears defensive back Jaylon Johnson (33) / Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports
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Steelers could sign Bilal Nichols

The defensive line is becoming a hard position for the Steelers to source talent into. College defenses are getting smaller every season, so finding those Stephon Tuitt builds (6’6 and 300 plus pounds) is becoming harder. Add in the rising cost of good defensive linemen and Pittsburgh could be in a hard spot moving forward.

The line could also be a big need if the team decides to part with Larry Ogunjobi. This will create both an immediate need for a starter and continue the need for a long-term starter at defensive end. Keeanu Benton will figure into the equation, but more depth is needed.

Bilal Nichols isn’t a perfect fit for the team, but he is a proven player who can hold his own as a starter. He has been a viable defender since he was drafted by the Bears and has been a cheap starter for the Raiders since he joined their defense. He lacks flash as a pass rusher but can hold his own as a run defender.

The Steelers were heavily interested in Nichols when he came into the league. He ultimately went a little higher than most people thought he would, but it makes sense now. He will likely get a small pay bump, but he could be a cheap starter for this team with a low ceiling but an equally high floor.